Unfortunately, Lyle R. Mercer missed the point of resisting the beer tax {"The Need for a Beer Tax Has Come to a Head," Aug. 5}. The beer tax is simply another middle-class tax, lumped upon the already staggering federal, state, sales and luxury taxes (including cigarette and gasoline taxes). Since there is simply no one else to pay (the poor have no money, and the rich have loopholes), the middle class gets stuck with taxes.

While I agree that alcohol-related diseases are just as serious as smoking diseases and am all for using beer tax money to help alcohol abusers, I do not advocate raising smoking taxes or any other luxury tax. It is wrong to assume that those who oppose the beer tax are the same people who want to raise the cigarette tax.

I simply don't want to pay more taxes to the government, especially to the "Read My Lips" man. Gasoline prices (and therefore the gas tax) is going up because of price-gouging oil companies that cannot keep tankers afloat (imagine how much extra oil would be around if the Valdez had not ruptured). The S&L crisis is being cleaned-up with my tax dollars while the felons who caused the problem are enjoying their millions or (at worst) doing minimum time at a federal minimum-security prison (read "federally subsidized health club").

I don't want to pay any more taxes, Mr. Mercer. I just don't want to! The solution: stop spending money, Mr. Bush. I don't have much more left. BILL SCHNEIDER Fairfax